DePaul University President Calls Pro-Life Message “Bigotry”

Photo credit: southie3 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

At DePaul University in Chicago, it is now impossible to be both pro-life and pro-black lives — at least according the university’s president.

Last week, Fr. Dennis Holtschneider silenced the DePaul College Republicans, halting use of their proposed “Unborn Lives Matter” campaign on campus. In a letter explaining his decision, Holtschneider claimed, “Yet there will be times when some forms of speech challenge our grounding in Catholic and Vincentian values. When that happens, you will see us refuse to allow members of our community to be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.” He went on to describe the advertising campaign as “[s]peech whose primary purpose is to wound” and called it “inconsistent with our Vincentian and Catholic values.”

Holtschneider may have believed these words when he wrote them, but his accusation rests on a baseless assumption of malicious intent on the part of the College Republicans. The poster blocked by the University merely imitates a well-known, popular phrasing of a powerful message, and one that the university had a chance, and perhaps even an obligation, to promote as an avenue for unity. Is it really so difficult to consider that the group’s reappropriation of “Black Lives Matter” is more akin to others’ reappropriation of the British mantra “Keep Calm and Carry On,” for example, than it is to mocking the rallying cry of a movement seeking justice and equality for African Americans?

Furthermore, when it comes to protecting and defending black lives, it can be argued quite compellingly that the pro-life movement is at the forefront. Continue Reading